One of the brands behind Target’s disastrous Pride collection has accused “domestic terrorists” of pulling some of its products from the retailer’s stores.
Amid a backlash after the company’s woke marketing campaign, which included “tuck-friendly” women’s swimwear, several Ash+Chess products were pulled from shelves.
“We are saddened to say that the majority of our collection has been removed from Target stores due to threats from domestic terrorists,” the company said.
The move comes as Target reportedly lost more than $9 billion in market value due to fallout from the release of its LGBTQ-themed product.
Ash+Chess items in Target include plenty of LGBTQ-themed apparel and greeting cards
Target’s Pride swimsuits included a tag that advertises the “user-friendly construction” and “extra inseam” coverage
The New York-based retail supplier says on its website that it is ‘queer and trans-led’, and it has slammed the severe fallout from its LGBTQ-inspired clothes appearing on shelves across America .
“Emotionally, we don’t currently have the bandwidth to comment further on this,” the company said in its statement.
“We appreciate your support and love. Queer and trans people exist in the past, present and future, and we are stronger together. We love you all.’
Among the Pride-themed Ash+Chess items that were released by Target were a variety of rainbow-adorned apparel, as well as posters, calendars, and cards.
Target confirmed it was removing some of the controversial items on Wednesday in an effort to alleviate the “Bud Light”-style boycott that is currently devastating its bottom line.
Faced with increasing pressure to respond to criticism, the company began receiving “emergency calls” to find a solution.
The New York-based brand said it was “saddened” that its products were pulled from stores
Target has long announced its support for the LGBTQ community and spent $20 million in 2016 to add private, gender-neutral bathrooms to each of its stores.
Target’s controversial product line included several books that offended some customers
Target lost more than $9 billion amid fallout from its LGBTQ product rollout
Target CEO Brian Cornell said he believes marketing
And in a statement this week, Target said it removed some of the items that have “been at the center of the most divisive behavior.”
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we have experienced threats affecting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being at work,” Target said in a statement.
“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing elements that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior,” said Kayla Castaneda, crisis communications manager.
Alongside the Ash + Chess items were other LGBTQ-inspired clothing, including a lime green adult romper with the word “gay” emblazoned on the back and a mug with a label that read: “Gender Fluid “.
Target has publicly supported Pride events every year since 2013, and in the face of financially devastating boycotts, its CEO has doubled down on the unpopular outing.
CEO Brian Cornell told the Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast that he thinks the campaign will pay off in the long run.
“I think these are just good business decisions, and it’s the right thing for the company, and it’s the right thing for our brand,” Cornell said.
“The things we’ve done from a DE&I perspective (diversity, equity and inclusion), it adds value.
“It helps us drive sales, build engagement with our teams and guests, and it’s exactly the right things for our business today.”
Ash+Chess says it’s ‘queer and trans-led’, with its articles often sporting pro-LGBTQ print
Target said it decided to pull the items from the shelves because they “have been at the center of the most confrontational behavior”
In 2014, Target publicly endorsed marriage equality, and the following year announced it was ending its policy of dividing certain products, like toys, by gender.
Target also introduced a gender-neutral line for kids, and in April 2016 — amid a national discussion about bathroom access — announced that transgender people were free to use any bathroom they wanted.
A backlash ensued, and Target spent $20 million in August 2016 to add a private bathroom to each of its stores.
Target is the latest multibillion-dollar company to face criticism over its marketing, with Adidas also coming under fire after it used two biological men to advertise a range of women’s swimwear.